Role of the Sales Assistant?

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Jul 8, 2009 12:10 am

Now seems like a time when most of us could use a calm, hopefully useful, thread.  I've been wondering how some of you guys utilize your SAs/BOAs? 


I'm sure this varies depending on whether or not you share one, or have your own; as well as whether you are indy b/d, RIA, wire, insurance, EDJ, etc.
 
I share one @ an indy office (where I am NOT the owner, or the DS, nor do I pay the SA directly).  The SA follows up on all of my transfers, tickets, redemptions, etc. and makes sure all of my paperwork gets processed correctly.  She also responds to inquiries from the home office (about paperwork, etc.).  She fields the occassional client phone call (although, most just email me directly, or call my cell).  She maintains my schedule (although I duplicate my own), mails all correspondence to the home office for processing, makes copies of all my paperwork and files it, sorts out junk mail from important mail, etc.
 
When it comes to doing things like actually DOING account apps, ACATS, etc., or doing cost basis for a client - I usually do that stuff.  It seems like wasted time that I could be doing something more productive (read:  profitable), but at the same time I feel like it would be almost as much effort to explain what I want done, than it would be to just do it myself. 
 
Thoughts?  I assume that most newbs like me do more of their own paperwork, while most heavy-hitters don't even have a printer connected to their desktop...but you know what they say when you ASSume. 
Jul 8, 2009 12:19 am

Since your business is small enough, just do everything yourself and fire her.  How hard can it be for you to manage 3 million in Franklin funds?  Are you that lazy or stupid?

Jul 8, 2009 2:35 am
LA Broker:

Since your business is small enough, just do everything yourself and fire her.  How hard can it be for you to manage 3 million in Franklin funds?  Are you that lazy or stupid?



Impressive.  You really do have that arrogant d1ckhead routine down to a science....

Jul 8, 2009 6:51 am

LA Broker, if you are going to be a troll, how about adding some humor.

Jul 8, 2009 8:45 am
LA Broker:

Since your business is small enough, just do everything yourself and fire her. How hard can it be for you to manage 3 million in Franklin funds? Are you that lazy or stupid?





I guess that LA would be an expert on assistants since he is one (when he isn't braiding little girls' hair).

Jul 8, 2009 9:22 am
iceco1d:

Now seems like a time when most of us could use a calm, hopefully useful, thread. I've been wondering how some of you guys utilize your SAs/BOAs?

I'm sure this varies depending on whether or not you share one, or have your own; as well as whether you are indy b/d, RIA, wire, insurance, EDJ, etc.



I share one @ an indy office (where I am NOT the owner, or the DS, nor do I pay the SA directly). The SA follows up on all of my transfers, tickets, redemptions, etc. and makes sure all of my paperwork gets processed correctly. She also responds to inquiries from the home office (about paperwork, etc.). She fields the occassional client phone call (although, most just email me directly, or call my cell). She maintains my schedule (although I duplicate my own), mails all correspondence to the home office for processing, makes copies of all my paperwork and files it, sorts out junk mail from important mail, etc.



When it comes to doing things like actually DOING account apps, ACATS, etc., or doing cost basis for a client - I usually do that stuff. It seems like wasted time that I could be doing something more productive (read: profitable), but at the same time I feel like it would be almost as much effort to explain what I want done, than it would be to just do it myself.



Thoughts? I assume that most newbs like me do more of their own paperwork, while most heavy-hitters don't even have a printer connected to their desktop...but you know what they say when you ASSume.





To get back to your post(this site is starting to suck)...I think it depends where you are in your business. I agree with you regarding doing paperwork yourself(use to be in a similar scenario) it takes as long to explain it as it does to do it myself.

I think assistants are great if you need them, but I can't justify the cost. Even if it is just a secretary role, you figure 8am-3pm just to be there during market hours is 6 hours a day x 5 days= 30 hours, not sure if that qualifies for fulltime but would think it comes close, then you add in benefits, additional bookkeeping etc.. and it almost isn't worth it. Especially on days when there is nothing to do. The only exception I see is if you are never in your office and a lot of your clients like to "drop-in", then it adds a level of professionalism.

Jul 8, 2009 11:39 am

Ice - I think you know my setup so far. But for everyone else. I have two part-time assistants. Each works between 15 and 20 hours per week. One is account opener, paper filer, bookkeeper, editor and receptionist all rolled into one. The other is a marketing assistant who is a graphic designer. She designs most of our print material and puts my presentations into a nice, "clean" looking format. She too acts as a receptionist as needed and does many data entry tasks.



Full-time can be justifiable. But someone who is hard-working can get most things done as a part-timer.

Jul 8, 2009 12:18 pm
LA Broker:

Since your business is small enough, just do everything yourself and fire her.  How hard can it be for you to manage 3 million in Franklin funds?  Are you that lazy or stupid?


This, from a guy who until a year ago was a secretary in the home office for 4 years, and who has already been proven to be a blatant liar masquerading as an FA.   Thanks for taking the time to humiliate yourself in public, polesmoker.  We needed a laugh after the recent alley fight.

BTW, your gene pool could use a little more chlorine.


Jul 8, 2009 1:51 pm

ICE, here's my take on it.  My perception of you is that you work hard and are looking to raise the bar, so you are not "coasting".  For those that have, say, 30mm AUM or less, and aren't looking to set the world on fire, you can probably get by without an assistant.  You probably aren't looking to open lots of new accounts, so not that much paperwork to do.

 
Now, for the person that IS looking to set the world on fire, look at it this way....WITHOUT an assistant, paperwork and admin duties will always be an excuse for why you can't produce more - either consciously or subconsciously.  But if having an assistant will allow you to spend more time prospecting, landing and closing, then it will pay for itself.  Look at it in straight numbers...if you pay an assistant $500/wk. (I am talking part-time, and this includes benefits, payroll tax, etc.), do you think you could do an extra $2250 net per month to pay for it?  Maybe, maybe not.  But that is what you have to grapple with.  For the low-producing "coaster", it probably doesn't make financial sense.  For the person willing to make an investment in ramping up their business faster (especially for fee-based business), it's probably worth it.  Otherwise, you are just chained to your desk and phone.
Jul 9, 2009 10:26 pm
iceco1d:

Thank you for all of the helpful responses guys.

 
I'm not only interested in cost, per se, but also, exactly what duties are some of you delegating, and which are you retaining?
 
Take the cost basis calculation for a client...do you trust your SAs to do it correctly and delegate, or do you do that yourself usually?
 
How about when you submit ACATS, or some type of trading instruction?  I don't mean for someone starting a $100/month Roth IRA...I mean if you are ACATing a 6 figure account or better.  Do you trust that it will be done correctly by the SA, or do you like to do it yourself? 
 
Like B24 said, some FAs don't even have an assistant.  On the other hand, I'm sure there are some out there that delegate EVERYTHING (these types probably have god syndrome, and aren't well liked).
 
Just trying to get an idea of how others operate, since my office is atypical, to say the least!
 



My team doesn't have a typical setup either but I do all those things listed above for the FA I work for.  I fill 75% of his calendar and probably do half the prospecting via working leads, referrals he gets that I then call, and cold-calls.  The other half come from his existing clients and his personal connections.  I also meet with those he deems scrub prospects as well as any prospects I find through my networking (these usually fall into the scrub category ie small life sales and $100 roths).  I had 6, 63, life, & health before he hired me.  Now he pays for my CE and licensing.

Jul 10, 2009 4:01 pm
iceco1d:

Thank you for all of the helpful responses guys.

 
I'm not only interested in cost, per se, but also, exactly what duties are some of you delegating, and which are you retaining?
 
Take the cost basis calculation for a client...do you trust your SAs to do it correctly and delegate, or do you do that yourself usually?
 
How about when you submit ACATS, or some type of trading instruction?  I don't mean for someone starting a $100/month Roth IRA...I mean if you are ACATing a 6 figure account or better.  Do you trust that it will be done correctly by the SA, or do you like to do it yourself? 
 
Like B24 said, some FAs don't even have an assistant.  On the other hand, I'm sure there are some out there that delegate EVERYTHING (these types probably have god syndrome, and aren't well liked).
 
Just trying to get an idea of how others operate, since my office is atypical, to say the least!
 
 
I have my SA do virtually 100% of the paperwork, but the more important items, like a large ACAT, I will obviously review for accuracy. Also, over time, the trust level will grow and delegating more responsibilities will naturally occur. Your SA should be better a paperwork than you.
Jul 10, 2009 5:56 pm

Ice- if it's not a sales function it gets delegated. Your job is to sell - period! A sales function is anything related to closing a sale and selling something.  Whether that be prospecting, making a presentation or designing a campaign or seminar and the presenting it. If what you're doing isn't selling something to someone or moving them closer to buying something then it's not a sales function. And you shouldn't be doing it.

 
I'll prove it. Ice what do you make, income wise? 100k? 200k? 300k? 500K? Regardless of where you fall on this scale, does it make sence that someone with that value, that earning capacity to do the job of a 40k a year clerk? Ah, allow me-NO NO NO !!!!!!!!!
 
What you have in your office is a service assistant, not a sales assistant.
 
Having an assistant do all non sales work is a chicken and egg thing. You can't afford a full time assistant at your current level and you can't move up to a higher production level because you're too bogged down with too much non sales work. You've gotta figure that out. The answer is in your wallet.
 
As i read your description of how your office is set up i see one glaring change that could significantly help you control your time. That is: Your assitant needs to answer your phone full time. Uncontrolled incoming calls will derail you every time. Here you are calling folks with a great idea and only to get a call from Velda Bluehair wondering why her monthly check was a dollar less than last month. The 20 minutes it takes to get Velda to understand the issue completely deflates you. Besides, talking check problems with clients is a NON SALES FUNCTION! have your assistant take these calls, set aside  time in the morning and afternoon to return client calls, and give your assistant a list of people who you'll take the call from whenever they call. Do that and you own your time instead of it owning you. This is key!
Jul 10, 2009 5:58 pm

I knew you were gonna say "NO NO NO."

Jul 11, 2009 10:56 am
iceco1d:

Now seems like a time when most of us could use a calm, hopefully useful, thread.  I've been wondering how some of you guys utilize your SAs/BOAs? 


I'm sure this varies depending on whether or not you share one, or have your own; as well as whether you are indy b/d, RIA, wire, insurance, EDJ, etc.
 
I share one @ an indy office (where I am NOT the owner, or the DS, nor do I pay the SA directly).  The SA follows up on all of my transfers, tickets, redemptions, etc. and makes sure all of my paperwork gets processed correctly.  She also responds to inquiries from the home office (about paperwork, etc.).  She fields the occassional client phone call (although, most just email me directly, or call my cell).  She maintains my schedule (although I duplicate my own), mails all correspondence to the home office for processing, makes copies of all my paperwork and files it, sorts out junk mail from important mail, etc.
 
When it comes to doing things like actually DOING account apps, ACATS, etc., or doing cost basis for a client - I usually do that stuff.  It seems like wasted time that I could be doing something more productive (read:  profitable), but at the same time I feel like it would be almost as much effort to explain what I want done, than it would be to just do it myself. 
 
Thoughts?  I assume that most newbs like me do more of their own paperwork, while most heavy-hitters don't even have a printer connected to their desktop...but you know what they say when you ASSume. 
Ice, back in the day, when i had an assistant, I made sure she understood what i wanted done on anything that was repeatable - anything that i figured i was going to need to be done again. Thats worth the time, as long as you feel comfortable that he or she will be around for a while. If something came up that doesnt present itself more than once or twice a year, yeah, i felt better off doing it myself.